2019 Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by scottakelly, May 6, 2019.

  1. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (483) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I'm wondering what is going on with this beer. It's a summer fridge staple of mine. I picked up a 6-pack three weeks ago and have seen no distribution since. SN website says availability begins in April, and my normal recollection is early April (if not late March) availability. I'm just wondering if there are some plans in the works to cut back on this beers availability?

    Pardon my ignorance if this has been brought up yet, I have not been following BA as actively lately.
  2. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,086) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I see it all over NJ - bought a 12-pk a few weeks ago, bottled 03/26 (or 28 - bottles are in the recycle bin and labels got wet and the ink ran). Freshest SN I've found in a long time.

    As for your market - I'd say go through the normal process:

    SN website's Beer Finder / ask your retailer / call your local SN distributor / email SN...
    jakecattleco, Ranbot and Tdizzle like this.
  4. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (243) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    This years tasted difference to me than previous. I noticed more of a hop presence in there.
  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,792) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Full stock here in AZ, 12 packs going for $14.99, you just cannot beat that price. Now I need to run out and get some lol, I love this beer.
  6. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,086) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Maybe you just drank it fresher this year?
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  7. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California

    Tasting as good as ever. One of my all-time favorites.
  8. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (274) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    One of my favorite beers not only due to taste but for nostalgic reasons, I finally saw it in my area yesterday (almost walked right by it too, not a fan of its new label) but passed because the store I was in had it way overpriced, will pick it up somewhere else. With Victory Prima Pils being recently reformulated (and for my palate I liked the change a lot) and SF and some others it's going to be a great summer of Pils :sunglasses:
  9. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,332) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Is Sierra-Veza any good? I saw some for $7.99/six pack, but I passed. Anyone had it?
    HorseheadsHophead likes this.
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,086) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Really, where did you see this news? What did they do?

    Edit: Never mind, here we go:

    It used to be 50 IBUs?! Jeez.


    The poster child for this might be Victory Brewing’s Prima Pils, the brewery’s flagship German pilsner first brewed in 1996. Though it’s one of Victory’s most respected beers, the company recently found Prima sales had dropped two years in a row. It was time for a change.

    “It’s my child, my favorite beer we make in the brewery so I’m very protective of it,” Barchet says. “But you can’t keep doing the same thing if it’s not working.”

    Barchet noticed that he wasn’t able to drink the same quantity of Prima as he used to—by the third beer, his palate felt a little tired. He and the brewing team decided that dropping the beer’s bitterness level ever so slightly—from 5o bitterness units to about 45—might do the trick. Victory’s brewers also changed their process to incorporate Prima’s hops at a different point in the brewing process—almost entirely in the hopback rather than the brew kettle—which gives the beer more hop aroma with less hop bitterness.

    “We’re really happy with how it came out. It’s a little more of a modern take based on where taste buds are and where the market is,” Barchet says. “We felt that if Prima was going to carry on, we need to get it a little more modern.”

    But there will be no massive announcement of the change, no “New Recipe!” label splashed across six-packs. Victory isn’t trying to hide the change, Barchet says, but they’re also not trying to scare away long-time Prima Pils drinkers. It’s a delicate, calculated risk to take with a venerated beer: in making changes that aim to improve the recipe, there’s a chance some of its steady customers might now like the change. Barchet, for his part, is confident in the new Prima, and he says that as a long-time fan himself.

    “I don’t think people will necessarily be able to pick out the change,” he says. “I hope they just think ‘Wow, this is a good batch. This is a Prima batch I really like.’”
    #10 AlcahueteJ, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  11. Glider

    Glider Zealot (529) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts

    Available here in Boston area as well. I also grabbed a twelve-pack of cans packaged 3/26.

    Tastes great to me. Despite the labeling which only says lager, it is supposed to be a Czech-style Pilsner, so should have a good hop presence.

    I love SN’s seasonals. Summerfest, Oktoberfest, and Celebration are all great and great values in my book.
  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I'm with you on this. It seems like distribution is spotty around my area -- plenty of spots toward the cities (Chicago and Milwaukee), very few in-between.

    I was able to find six-packs over the Wisconsin line at one store and took advantage. Tasting very good -- reminding me more of Anchor's California Lager than I recall, though not at all identical.

    @DarkDragon999 I think @AlcahueteJ is on a good track here, what beer can be found seems very fresh. But it seems like that 2-row is dominating the flavor a little this year. It's well balanced by the other malts and the hops to make it delish, but it's amped up to my palate.
    scottakelly and AlcahueteJ like this.
  13. SierraTerence

    SierraTerence Initiate (157) Mar 14, 2007 California


    Depending on how Brut IPA sold through in your area... It was not good in some places, so our distributors will bring the next seasonal based off inventories from the previous seasonal. Delaying that actually available release time.
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  14. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Glad to know it's not just my own aging palate.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    This makes sense for my area -- lotta Brut IPA 12-packs still on shelves.
    officerbill, ecpho and SierraTerence like this.
  16. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (246) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    It does taste a bit too hoppy for me this year. If the recipe hasn't changed it could be that I've been drinking more Kolsch and Helles. I do stay away from Pils when compared to those 2 other styles but Summerfest always seemed like a softer Pils to me (and that's what I liked about it). I'd probably pick up Sierraveza over Summerfest from now on.
    ESHBG and HorseheadsHophead like this.
  17. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,727) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    It's more of a Mexican lager than a pilsner, so don't go in expecting a hoppy pilsner, but yeah, it's good. It's one of those ideal thirst-quenching, refreshing, crushable hot weather beers.
    chuckstout, nc41, rronin and 6 others like this.
  18. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (274) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Here's my thoughts and they ended up dropping the IBUs to 43:

    Southeastern PA - news, releases, updates, etc. (2019)
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  19. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (274) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I love it and the only reason I don't buy much of it is because it's way overpriced in my area ($10.99/sixer) but once the price drops or if I see it for cheaper I will be all over it...for that price I would jump on it.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I too will not buy this beer since it is waaaay overpriced IMO. I will instead buy a 6-pack of Lord Chesterfield for 6-7 bucks.

  21. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I thought last year's Summerfest had a really nice hop character... it seemed bigger than usual. When I first got this year's, I was surprised by how floral/herbal it was too. I'm not talking IPA level hopping here... more like something that would only really pop if had alongside another pale lager. Having said that, I'm a big believer in context - so it just could have been how it tasted to me on those particular days. Age was likely a factor too given that these were the first ones of the season in each case. Sierraveza can have that same relative floral punch (even though the hops are different than Summerfest), but the 2018 cans lingering around here no longer deliver that. Speaking of which:
    I think it's great but I'm not normal. The old product by me is a bad sign about how well it'll do as a year-round. Nice to see some positive statements here though so I guess I'm not alone:
    It's the same price here... and that's also what Summerfest goes for. We've already done this dance, but why would Sierraveza be "way overpriced" if it's the same price as Summerfest?
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Sierra Nevada is marketing this beer like the AALs of Mexico:

    "The Details
    Inspired by the classic cervezas served ice cold by the beach, we created our own take on those light and easy beers born south of the border."


    I have already provided the 'reference point' of Lord Chesterfield.


    ESHBG likes this.
  23. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (246) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I don't know why Sierraveza isn't offered in 12 packs (15 packs?), its certainly not a sipping beer. I have only seen it in a few places so I don't think sales can be expected to be great but I hope it sticks around.
    FBarber and ESHBG like this.
  24. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (274) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Using SN beers for comparison I just don't see how it makes sense for Sierraveza to be the same price (and in a few cases more expensive) than Hop Bullet, Hazy Little Thing... Also, going head to head with Mexican ALs it's more expensive, not going to win many converts there either.

    I know that we could take it to an ingredients level here but price it closer to Founders Solid Gold and I bet it would fly off the shelves...I know that I would buy it regularly.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Seems more Red Stripe/Reggae to me but ....HEY WAIT! That's the "Beer Jesus of America" Greg Koch, isn't it?

    Damn, I know they had to sell the Berlin brewery but Greg's pickin' up extra cash doing commercials for competitors now? :astonished:

    Of course, just as weird, the (once) anti-marketing Sierra Nevada doing commercials.
    (Yeah, just 'cause posting on YouTube is free don't mean it ain't a commercial).
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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    JK, should I set my timer to see how long until Stone Brewing sues Sierra Nevada here!?!:wink:

    Does Stone Brewing have enough coin to sue two breweries at the same time?:thinking_face:

  27. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (116) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    No Kolsch this year? Severely disappointed.
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  28. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (777) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    I actually think Summerfest comes across drier this year than I remember, it comes across a little more harsh and more "brute" like. Still really good, but I wish it was a little softer. I don't love it as much as I have the past few years.
  29. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,118) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader


    Every day of the week..
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  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I suspect that you will not be seeing a SN Kolsch for a very loooong time.

    I have been advocating they produce this as seasonal release for many years. To no effect.:slight_frown:

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  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Since you are a brewer, what do you think 'happened' here?

  32. Beertsipper

    Beertsipper Devotee (400) Nov 18, 2008 New York

    15 pack of cans would be cool...
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  33. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (65) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota

    Does Sierra Nevada still use whole-cone hops and open fermentation for beers like Summerfest or is that just for beers like Pale Ale and Torpedo?
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is my understanding they use whole-cone hops for all of their beers but open fermentation is conducted only for two of their brands: Kellerweis and Bigfoot.


    P.S. Terence (@SierraTerence) please chime in if anything above is incorrect.
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  35. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (777) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    My guess is an intentional "tweak" to make a drier finished product through changes to the mash schedule. I'd assume SN knows how their yeasts work in such huge capacities to avoid variances in attenuation. Just my hunch though.

    Or I've been drinking too much Helles lately that it just comes across more aggressive. Who knows!
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Did this year's Summerfest taste the same to you from a hopping perspective? There has been comments posted that this year's version is "too hoppy", do you agree with this?

  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,465) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Both breweries are configured to use whole cone hops. That is all I have seen on tours.
  38. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (777) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    To me, it just comes across drier. Less residual sweetness of course will accentuate the IBU's, even if those remain unchanged from past years. It just seems a little 'harsher' and honestly, it reminds me of their Brute IPA they had released not long ago. They have a similar dryness to my palate. I will crack another open today and see if I still feel the same way.

    I don't think it's too hoppy, honestly, just too dry. A little more malt sweetness would have balanced it a bit better, IMO.

    I was planning to buy a 1/6-bbl of it this year as it's always been one of our favorite beers each Spring (the past few years we always happened to be at Sierra Nevada when it came out and enjoyed plenty of this beer fresh at the source in Mills River, Chico or the Torpedo Room in Oakland), along with plenty of cans/bottles at home... But this year it just has not hit the spot for me as it usually does, which makes me sad. Still really like the beer, but I definitely think some tweaks occurred this year with the recipe and/or process to brew it.

    Lagers are my go-to style to drink and brew... So I respect the delicate balance of a Helles, the more aggressive Pils and the malty end of the spectrum as well. They will have to drag me out of Germany I think in a few weeks when we are there on vacation!
  39. Scrapss

    Scrapss Champion (889) Nov 15, 2008 US Minor Outlying Islands

    I found a nice supply of cans and bottles :innocent:


    Seems like all three of the distributors I stopped in had some (SW PA), and I am willing to bet if my locals have it then the rest of my area probably has it as well.
    ESHBG likes this.
  40. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,086) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    How many have you had so far?